Presented on Wednesday, November 11 at Quarry Farm. Leo Marx is a professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His work often examines the relationship between culture and technology in nineteenth and twentieth century America. His works include The Machine in the Garden: Technology and the Pastoral Ideal in America (1964), The Pilot and the Passenger: Essays on Literature, Technology, and Culture in the United States (1989), Does Technology Drive History? The Dilemma of Technological Determinism (1994), and Progress: Fact or Illusion (1998).
Although Mark Twain did his best to dissociate himself from the 'romantic' pastoralists of Emerson and Thoreau's times, his work displays many close affinities to theirs. As he became a more serious writer, for example, he developed a more skeptical view of the prevailing American belief in 'progress' and his work took on several features of the 'pastoral' reaction to industrialization which characterized the work of other 'classic' American writers who came before him.